SPENCER PIGOT MAKES FIRST FIRESTONE FAST 6 APPEARANCE; MATCHES CAREER-BEST QUALIFYING EFFORT
Pigot Will Start 6th in Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama; Ed Jones Qualifies 21st
LEEDS, Ala. (April 6, 2019) – Qualifying Notes
– For the first time in his NTT IndyCar Series career, Spencer Pigot advanced to the Firestone Fast 6 and will start 6th in tomorrow’s Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama. His qualifying result is not only his best road course start, but matches the highest of his career – also a 6th starting position for the 2018 Indianapolis 500. Teammate Ed Jones struggled to get a consistent run in his No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet and will start 21st in the 10th anniversary of the 90-lap race.
– Pigot was only able to turn four laps in Practice 1, but came back in Practice 2 to set the 7th fastest lap of Friday at 119.644 miles per hour (mph). In Practice 3, he was 6th overall and the fastest of the Chevrolet-powered drivers; however, his lap from Friday afternoon remained his best. Jones worked through a myriad of issues the first two practice sessions, then a red flag threatened to keep him from turning a lap on a fresh set of sticker black tires at the end of Practice 3. All cars were given one more timed lap after the red flag period, allowing Jones to set his fastest lap of practice at 119.216 mph and put him 11th on the Practice 3 charts.
– Both ECR drivers were assigned to Group 1 of qualifying. After evaluating the number of red flags during the three practice sessions, the decision was made to send Jones and Pigot out immediately. Both started on sticker black Firestone Firehawks, turning three laps before switching to sticker reds. Pigot’s first flying lap of 121.133 mph saw him vault to the top of the charts. His lap would hold for the remainder of the 10-minute session, solidifying him as the fastest driver of Round 1, Group 1. Jones’s best lap of 119.923 mph was his fastest of the weekend, but would only have him in 11th.
– After Group 2 had completed their session, Pigot’s lap held as the fastest of all of Round 1 and would ultimately become the fastest of all rounds of qualifying. Keeping with the same strategy for Round 2, the No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet was sent out immediately on black Firehawks, completing three laps before pitting for the second set to sticker reds. In a repeat of Round 1, a 120.708 mph lap on reds sent Pigot straight to the top of the charts. James Hinchcliffe snuck in a final lap and bumped Pigot down. ECR’s 25-year-old driver would finish Round 2 in 2nd.
– Pigot began his first Firestone Fast 6 qualifying session on a set of scuffed reds. After turning one lap, he came in for a final set of sticker black tires. The gamble came on the heels of the knowledge that during Friday’s second practice, Pigot was faster on the black Firehawks over the reds. However, that would not be the case today as Pigot’s quickest lap on the blacks was only 118.953 mph. Still, his starting position of 6th on the grid matches his career-best to date. His previous best road course start was 9th at last year’s INDYCAR Grand Prix at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
– Pigot, Jones and Ed Carpenter Racing are all familiar with the top step of the podium at Barber Motorsports Park. Pigot swept both Indy Pro 2000 races in 2014, then followed that up with back-to-back Indy Lights victories in 2015. The next year, Ed Jones led all 35 laps of the 2016 Indy Lights race. ECR took the victory in the marquee event in 2015, winning the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama with Josef Newgarden behind the wheel.
– Pigot and Jones will have one more opportunity to perfect their Autogeek Chevrolets in a morning warm up session, scheduled to begin at 11:10 a.m. ET tomorrow. Live television coverage of the Honda Indy Grand Prix of Alabama will begin at 4 p.m. ET (3 p.m. local) on NBC Sports Network. The green flag will drop for the 90-lap race at 4:15 p.m. ET (3:15 p.m. local).
ED JONES, No. 20 Ed Carpenter Racing Scuderia Corsa Chevrolet, Starting 21st: “Session to session, we have really struggled with getting anything to be consistent with the car. Qualifying was frustrating, around here it’s very difficult to pass so it would have been much better to start farther up. However, things can change for tomorrow’s race, with strategy and maybe even the weather. We’ve got to do the best we can and make the best of every opportunity. We’ll push on from here!”
SPENCER PIGOT, No. 21 Autogeek Chevrolet, Starting 6th: “I am really happy with the Autogeek Chevrolet. We were really competitive there in the first two rounds, we were P1 and P2. In the Fast 6, we got the order wrong – we probably should have run our sticker blacks then our scuffed reds, but that’s alright. It’s a bit of data we can save for the future. We’re really happy to qualify up front but also a little bit dejected to have not had more there at the end! Overall, we are coming away with a lot of positives. We are definitely looking good for tomorrow!”
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